Moisturizing Natural Hair

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When it comes to natural hair care, moisture is at the top of the list. It’s vital to keep the strands moisturized. Knowing this information, in many situations naturals fall short at locking in that moisture.
Below are a few tips to help you effectively moisturize your natural hair. From experience, I’ve fallen short many times. Learn from my mistakes.
1. Oils are NOT moisturizers
When I began my journey I of course turned to the gurus on YouTube and I constantly heard many mention that certain oils are moisturizers. For a while I just took this and ran. About a year later I finally realized that oils are sealants. They aid in the aspect of locking in moisture. A few oils, like coconut oil, can penetrate the hair strands YES; I won’t however refer to this penetration as moisturizing. It’s simply nourishing the hair with different nutrients. Water is the main source of moisture. In a nutshell, oils and butters will sit on the surface of your strand because they are SEALANTS, not moisturizers. Their purpose is to trap moisture or repel it depending on what your end game is (either keep hair moisturized during harsh winter days or repel the moisture during humid summer days). Simply applying oil to dry hair makes it brittle and at times dry. What follows is breakage.
2. Product Build-up
Many naturals stretch their wash days apart because let’s face it, washing our hair can be time consuming especially on deep conditioning days. This causes the problem of product build-up. A layer of dirt on the surface of the strand will inhibit the water from penetrating it. The point of moisturizing is applying products that are water based so that they penetrate the cuticle of the strand and infuse the cortex with moisture / water. This is why it is important to clarify one’s hair and scalp regularly. For those who shampoo, fine but a tip for those who solely co-wash, make sure you are using a clarifying conditioner and try to encorporate Apple Cider Vinergar (ACV) rinses.

3. Moisture after shampooing 
While I have your attention on the topic of clarifying and shampooing, let’s discuss why skipping the conditioner process is a no no. One might think that because you are in the shower and your hair is drenched, after rinsing out the shampoo, you are good to go. Yes, your hair is being moisturized by water, but an even more intense process is being carried out by the chemical you are using to clean your hair. Shampoos are stripping away the product build up and along with that other beneficial oils that lock in moisture are being stripped from your hair. This is where the conditioners and deep conditioners come into play. They replace the nutrients that were stripped and add more as they work. It’s also important to use an oil or butter after the process is complete, to lock in ALL that moisture and nourishment your hair just received.
4. Sealing in moisture
We talked about how oils alone without the water are not effective moisturizers. The same applies for water minus the oil. Water evaporates from our strands fairly quickly especially if your hair is highly-porous. I cannot stress enough the importance of sealing in that water. Dry hair breaks easily.
5. Focus on the ends of your hair
The ends of your hair are the driest as they are the oldest part of the strand. Since natural hair is curly, the natural oils that your scalp secretes don’t travel down far and fast enough in order to coat the ends. For those that desire long hair, length retention is what you are working on. And inorder to retain length, those ends need to be protected from breakage.
6. Deep conditioning for too long
Now I know I am not the only one who has applied a deep conditioner and gone to bed and washed it out the next morning. If we look at many deep conditioning treatments, the instruction is usually 30 minutes and on some rare occasions 45 minutes. For some reason I thought that keeping the treatment in for longer meant that I’d get more from it. I believed that my hair would reach maximum hydration and softness. Hmmmmm, this might have been one of the reasons why my scalp was always irritated. Research has shown that whether you deep condition (DC) for 30 mins or hours on end, you get the same results. I just saved you from staying in all night with a plastic cap on. Go party girlfriend!!!!
P.S. I think the makers of these treatments know more about the product than we do. IJS
7. Using styling products as moisturizers
Staying on the topic of product use; in many cases there are products that can be used in many different ways. I have used deep conditioner as a leave-in and at times a styler. This may work for some but let’s just keep it real. The title “Styling product” is self explanatory. Yes many of these are now coming with many benefits to aid hair health but when it comes to moisturization, let’s stick to using water based moisturizing products. Sometimes money is tight and we are tempted to make that product do it all. Remember, when all else fails, simple WATER is sufficient. Just remember to seal afterwards.
8. Under-moisturizing & Over-moisturizing
I once heard that when you start to feel a dry throat and you feel thirsty, your body is actually more thirsty and it’s giving you a sign that reserves are running low. But did you know that too much water can be dangerous to your body too. It’s the same with our hair.It’s advised to spritz hair with water once daily. To test if your hair has too much moisture or too litte here’s a test you could do: Spritz your hair with water and seal with an oil as usual. Wait an hour and take one strand. Hold it at both ends and gently pull in opposite directions. If the hair is too stretchy, it’s over-moisturized and you can reduce the moisture and add protein. If the hair snaps and breaks easily, it’s clearly dry. A normal stretch to resistance ratio, means you have a balanced amount of moisture and continue as usual.
9. Drink Water
Yes topical treatments such as deep conditioners, spritzers and oils sound like a day at the spa but these processes can only take your hair so far. Just like that $50 lotion won’t revive your crusty skin without the sufficient hydration from actually drinking water. Our bodies are roughly 60% water. That number alone should express the importance of water for our vitality.
10. Hair strand testing
Though time consuming and at times a bore, it’s important to become one with your hair. I’m not encouraging the ‘hand-in-hair syndrome’ but sometimes playing in your hair is vital. How else can you feel the knots and splits if you don’t run your fingers down the hair shaft. When your hair texture feels rough or jagged that’s a sign that something must be done. A trim, a cut, a treatment…something. if it feels smooth or the same from root to tip, great job dearie!
“Try something different, you just might like it”
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